Approaches to Global Politics [15 marks]


Liberal approach to global politics

Intro - Liberal approach = humans driven by desire to cooperate, so states will naturally give up state sov. to avoid war and maintain peace. Western-dominated ideology, "equilibrium" will form between states

1st - Liberalists believe states cooperate. In contrast to realist theory, liberalists focus on absolute rather than relative gains, i.e. nations care more for beneficial outcomes than their place on global stage. Illustrated best by the UN, which allows nations to cooperate without using violent solutions to global problems, e.g. deploying peace-keepers in Sierra Leone after civil war

2nd - Liberalists believe in interdependence. People and states are connected through trade and spread of democracy in a way that encourages cooperation. E.g., the spread of Western values has encouraged the protection of human rights in more states e.g. India, whom have banned honour killings. Therefore states depend on each other for peace

3rd - Liberalists do not believe war is inevitable. Unlike Hobbe's view that the state of nature is "nasty, brutish and short", liberals recognise humans cooperate naturally and are not in a constant state of war, e.g. Cuban Missile Crisis - two opposed superpowers avoided nuclear war despite having no common ground = peaceful human nature

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Key reasons why state sov. is outdated

Intro - State sov. = absolute and unlimited power, including absense of higher authority in internal and external affairs. Treaty of Westphalia (1648) = all states are legally equal; terriroty and political independence is inviolable. However this has been critcised of being outdated

1st - Hyper-globalists argue that state sov. is outdated due to globalisation. Has lead to porous borders - increasingly easy for info to pass through, and states do not have sovereingty to prevent unwanted info from circulating. E.g. Ryan Giggs cheating scandal - story was not published, but leaked in Scotland 

2nd - Liberalists argue that state sov. is outdated due to importance of non-state actors. States becoming inceasingly interdependent, illustrated by membership of EU - states required to partially "give up" state sov. to supranational authority of EU. E.g. EU law takes precedence of UK law - workers rights are enshrined in EU law

3rd - Liberalists argue that state sov. is outdated due to humanitarian intervention. Due to growing belief that there are standards which all states should follow in terms of human rights - humanitarian intervention allows states to intervene without permission. Reisman - sovereignty of a state does not stand higher than the human rights of its inhabitants

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Disagreements between realism and liberalism

Intro - no. of differences between realism and liberalism, particularly on subject of human nature, war, cooperation and interdependence.

1st - Liberalists believe in the natural tendency to cooperate, whereas realists believe in selfishness. Liberalists focus on mutually beneficial outcomes - best illustrated by the UN, which allows nations to cooperate and reach non-violent solutions to problems - realists believe that state sov. is the most important thing and states will pursue self-interest with no higher authority

2nd - Liberalists believe in interdependence, whereas realists emhpasise state sov. Liberalists believe states are connected by free trade and spread of democracy through international law and human rights (e.g. banning of honour killings in India) whereas realists believe this infringes upon state sov. and accuses institutions like the ICC of spreading unwanted Western values as it is down to the state to decide on laws, not IGOs

3rd - Liberalists have an optimistic view of human nature, whereas realists are pessimistic. Hobbe - nature is "nasty, brutish and short" = global order is in constant state of anarchy, states prioritise survival and pursue security through military ends (war). Liberalists however believe in the natural tendency of states to cooperate (e.g. Cuban Missile Crisis and M.A.D.) 

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External sovereignty vs. Internal sovereignty

Intro - State sov. = absolute and unlimited power with absence of higher authority in internal/external affairs. Came into existence after Treaty of Westphalia (1648)

1st = External sov. = refers to the capcity of the state to act independently and autonomously on world stage - states are legally equal and terrirotial integrity and political independence of a state in inviolable (Treaty of Westphalia, 1648). For instance, America and Canada, who cooperate at the border, largely do not interfere in each other's affairs

2nd = Internal sov. = refers to the location of supreme power or authoirty within the state. In the UK, for instance, internal sovereingty resides within Parliament, reflected in the consitutional principle of parliamentary sovereignty 

3rd = Both external and internal sov. are threatened. External sovereignty, for instance, is threatened by the principle of humanitarian intervention, in that states can intervene in a crisis in one state without its permission due to the spreading consensus that all states must "do more" to protect human rights. Internal sovereignty is also threatened by IGOs such as the EU, which is said to erode parliamentary sovereignty in that EU law takes precedence over UK law (e.g. workers rights)

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Why is cultural globalisation controversial?

Intro - cultural globalisation = the process whereby info, commodities and values enter a global flow that "flattens out" cultural differences, otherwise known as cultural homogeneity. It may be deemed controversial due to its perceived effects on the world

1st - Globalisation has lead to "brand culture". The emphasis on "brands" and the emotional meaning attached to them leads to a culture of consumerism, where, through the media, companies create "fake needs". This leads people to excessively buy products they don't need, leading to a perpetual state of unhappinnes and the never-ending feeling of "needing more" - "true" happiness is never achieved in such a vicious cycle of consumerism 

2nd - Globalisation has lead to the "McDonaldization of the world". This refers to the spread of American values which includes fast food chains, music, films and traditions. This has lead to "cultural imperialism", in which the "McDonaldization" of the world has lead to the imposition of the American way of life, illustrated best by the popularity of Hollywood films

3rd - Globalisation has lead to the universal acceptance of American/Western values. This has lead to cultural homogeneity and the dismantling of indigenous cultural practices. E.g. India have banned honour killings because it contradicts the Western view of right to life. This can be seen as an erosion of state sovereignty 

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Realist approach to conflict

Intro = Realists believe human nature is inherently selfish, states will pursue own interests to maximise security - leads to war as states compete for hegemony in an anarchic world order. 

1st = International system = global anarchy, states will seek to maximise their own security by military force as no other non-state actor can ensure security, thus states adopt a "self-help" strategy. Creates the "security dilemma", i.e. a defensive military build-up by one state is depicted as aggressive by another state, leading to arms race, growing hostility, and war.

2nd = Realists believe that states are the principle actors in global politics and are sovereign entities, thus are motivated by power-seeking tendencies. States are selfish and pursue power and self-interest, therefore internationl relations are characterised by power politics, i.e. power in terms of military capacity or force and the ability to impose their will on others/resist influence. 

3rd = Different perspectives. Classical realists = war is inevitable due to the human nature of selfishness and aggressiveness which enables states to pursue self-interest; Neorealists = states take military action due to imbalances of power, i.e., they believe there is little prospect of being defeated; Offensive realists = states are motivated by the desire to maximise power, not just security, thus war is inevitable

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Economic vs. political globalisation

Intro = Globalisation is the spreading of information, values, economics, people and commodities on a global scale. It is the concept of interconnectedness by which everything and everyone is connected via a "complex global web".

1st = Econmic globalisation is the process whereby all national economies have been absorbed into an interlocking global economy, in that no national economy is an autonomus and soverign entity. Production is internationalisaed and financial capital flows freely and instantly between countries. It marks a shift towards "deep integration" as territorial borders are transcended through the construction of a consolidated global marketplace for production, distribution and consumption. This can be seen through the establishment of free trade areas, where states agree to reduce tariffs, or single markets, e.g. the EU.

2nd = Political globalisation is associated with the shift of decision-making from sttaes to international organisation. Such organisations may have regional jurisdiction (EU) or global jurisdiction (UN). Most international organsations are modelled on the principle of intergovernmentalism rather that supranationalism, in that states take collective action without sacrificing national sovereingty. It is also seen in the spread of political ideas such as the protection of human rights (banning of honour killings in India? Allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia?) and political structures such as liberal democracy.

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